Some recent print magazine reviews of WTII releases
Well for those of you who still buy print magazines (and why wouldn't you--help support the scene!!) here are some reviews of the latest WTII Releases that have shown up in Outburn and Gothic Beauty Magazines. Also in the upcoming Gothic Beauty Magazine (#36) you will be able to find a interview with Stiff Valentine!
Stromkern Dead Letters 8 out of 10 Outburn #64
Mixing industrrial music with hip hop isn't anything new, and Madison, Wisconsin's Stromkern isn't new to the game, either. Frontman Ned Kirby has been perfecting his band's sound for nearly two decades, and he's done so by always keeping things interesting, peaking with 2001's stunning Armageddon. Now seven years after their last album Light It Up, Stromkern reemerges with Dead Letters. Not surprisingly their sound remains destintive, difficult to be pigeonholed or reduced to a two word description. Lead track "Intuit" takes little time to reveal itself, as fuzzy beats and slippery synths allow Kirby to ease his way into the song just as distorted guitar helps transform half bellow/half croon into rapid spitfire rapping. And just as things seem like they're about to hit cruise control, a sample of M.I.A.'s "Galang" shifts things into a higher gear. It's that sense of unpredictability that makes Stromkern stand out. Rather than quickening the pace, they rely on warm sonic textures, setting the mood to simmer rather than to a boil ("Sub-librarian,"Symbols"). Theonly disappointment is that Dead Letters is short in length, clocking in at 23 minutes. Still, it succeeds in building anticipation for more from Stromkern. Here's to hoping the wait doesn't turn into another seven years --Brian Lumaig
Stiff Valentine America Inbreeding 8 out of 10 Outburn #63
Stiff Valentine, the up and coming industrial metal band from Vancouver, has an EP and two solid releases, but in order to maintain their attachment to the industrial scene, they have released a full blown remix album. The result is a mixture of club friendly rockers, wild re-imaginings of their hardcore influenced metal tracks, and even their own interpretation of 16volt's "Somebody to hate". Behind the serious tone of their original work is a band that fun and full of personality, and with this remix disc, the band's peers expose those playful traits, The remixers are also able to put their signatutes into the mixes. Jason Bazinet of Smp takes "World Apart" and injects it with some dark hip hop, while Slave Unit takes the same track and uses an industrial funk fusion to shift it far away from it's original version. Bruising mixes by 16volt, iH8te, Vein Collector and Dismantled lead Stiff Valentine's sound into industrial territory, while Landscape Body Machine flirts with IDM and Am.Psych focuses on a dark ambient mix that evolves around the chorus of "believe". America Inbreeding is a pleasure to hear, especially for those that have been wishing the industrial elements of Stiff Valentine's sound to rise above the hardcore metal edge that they are best knwon for--Joseph Graham
Stiff Valentine America Bleeding Gothic Beauty #35
Stiff Valentine is a self described "machine rock" group consisting of members of Left Spine Down, Front Line Assembly, 16volt and Chemlab to name a few. America bleeding is an uptempo and intense album that paints a pretty dystopian portrait. Heavy metal guitars feature prominently, and with the atmospheric synth and slamming percusion thrown in, this album is one that you can dance to or mosh to in equal measure. The vocals are growled, screamed and howled, adding to the intensity and full force energy of this album. Highlights include the track "Believe", with it's sweeping orchestrial synth parts and infectiously catchy refrain, and the tracks "Biohazard" and "Collide" which are primarily insturmental, with only the odd smattering of vocal samples. The former includes a catchy, more melodic sound that seems almost optimistic in tone. The latter has a somber but alluring synth line, toned down guitar and is quite enjoyable to dance to--Gail
Klutae Electro Punks Unite Gothic Beauty #35
Klutae is described as the "bastard alter-ego of Leaetherstrip's Claus Larsen." The last Klutae album that North America saw was 1996's Excel, and Electro Punks Unite contains seventeen danceable and high-energy tracks, including a few remixes, such as the Advert Resilience mix of Desert Storm. Electro Punks Unite is definitely an album where you can get your rage on- Larsen's lyrics are typically direct and aggressive and at places, political. The album is infused with catchy electronic beats, melodic synth lines and multi-layered fast-as-all-get out percussion. The album is dotted with vocal samples, often used as introductions to tracks. I really enjoyed the metal-esque guitar parts in the track "You Define Me-I Destroy You" which also boasts vehement vocals and more catchy synths as well. "Slippery when Dead" is incredibly danceable, and "Tell the Boys" is the kind of politcally poignant song that gave me the chills--Gail
And since I recently picked up some Gothic Beauty back issues here's an oldie but a goodie--better late than never I guess!!
Monstrum Sepsis Movement Gothic Beauty #18 from fall 2005
Monstrum Sepsis makes their second appearance in Gothic Beauty with this album. Following up their last release, Movement improves on it's predecessor with significantly greater depth and substance. Previously, the artist focused more on loose-timed ethereal pieces skirting the edges of new age without crossing the boarder into pretension. In this release a much greater emphasis is placed on rhythm and the improvement in soundscapes cannot be underestimated. Sonically this album is a 52 minute orgasim of simple, addictive beauty.--Poseidon